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Despite being nearly 40 miles from our nearest coastline St Albans has always had a wide range of connections to the sea. From the Sea God mosaic in Verulamium to the current HMS St Albans this exhibition will explore those stories and our relationship with our coastline.

This summer come and explore our St Albans on Sea exhibition starting on the beach, with St Albans straw hat making industry, before discovering some natural history in the shallows and braving the deeper waters to discover the many ships named HMS St Albans and HMS Verulam. Along the way we'll share the stories of St Albans' residents connections to the sea, local artist's depictions of the sea and the impact we all have on our changing coastline.

This exhibition was partly inspired by requests for our St Albans on Demand display for objects and stories including RNLI St Albans, HMS Verulam, HMS St Albans, the Vickers test tank, the semaphore on the Clock Tower and paintings in our collection of the coast. 

Napoleonic prisoner of war model

A model of a sailing ship made of animal bone fragments

As part of St Albans on Sea we were grateful to receive a grant from the Headley Trust to restore this beautiful model ship made by a Napoleonic Prisoner of War who was held in the Abbey Gateway.

Ships like this one, and other souvenirs, were made by the prisoners and then sold to locals to make money. This ship is part of St Albans Museums' collections but over the years the delicate hair rigging and perished and the masts and figurehead had been knocked loose. The ship will be on display in its full conserved state for the first time as part of the exhibition.

Despite being so far from the sea St Albans had more than one connection to the Napoleonic wars fought at sea.

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